Tag Archives: liberal democrats

Two ways we are addressing diversity

If there is one thing that we can all agree on is the need to encourage a greater degree of diversity within the party. Although our figures on diversity are far from where we want them to be, it is clear that we have begun to make some considerable strides towards adequately addressing this issue. There is an increasing recognition that if we are to herald ourselves as the defenders of equality and tolerance, then those values should be reflected within every aspect of our party. An important step towards this goal was the passing of two diversity and equality motions at Autumn Conference this year on Combatting Racism and Diversity Quotas, put forward by Pauline Pearce and Dawn Barnes respectively.

Summaries of both motions are outlined below:

Conference Motion Diversity Quotas

The motion has been put in place to increase the representation of those with protected characteristics on federal committees and bodies. The party will endeavor to ensure that:

  1. 40 % of those elected to a federal committee identify as men or non-binary, women or non-binary
  2. 10% shall be from minority backgrounds
  3. 10% shall be people from under-represented sexual orientations and gender identities including non-binary identities

Places on these bodies will be filled if the diversity requirements cannot be met or if an insufficient number of candidates with the required characteristic are nominated.

Both men and women will have an equal opportunity of participating at every level of the party in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, however the Act maybe amended to permit positive action to ensure that those from underrepresented groups are adequately represented within internal party bodies.

The full text of the motion is available here.

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Cllr Andrew Lomas writes…Why I’ve left Labour and joined the Liberal Democrats

Andrew LomasFollowing the referendum, Britain has to find a new place for itself in the world. Extricating the UK from the European Union on terms that don’t crash the economy is going to be an astonishingly difficult task that neither the Conservatives nor the Labour Party seem to be willing or able to face up to.

On the right, the Conservatives appear to be indulging in post-Brexit nostalgia, an imaginary time when the British Lion merely had to roar to make other nations meekly fall into line. However, Brexiteers can bellow “BUT THEY NEED US MORE THAN WE NEED THEM” as often as they like: the statement does not become any more rooted in reality for the repetition (as both France and Germany are beginning to make clear). On top of this is the noxious language unleashed at last week’s Tory conference about foreigners and the implied threat to fight a culture war against those who want a Britain that is open, tolerant, and engaged with the world. Still, at least we have an effective opposition, right?

Well no. Labour have decided that what really matters, at a time of increasing illiberalism and anti-foreigner rhetoric, are endless debates about the constitution of its internal governing bodies, a(nother) fight about nuclear weapons, and mandatory reselection of MPs. More damningly, amidst the silence on Brexit, it is hard to escape the feeling that the party leadership are ultimately happy to embrace the opportunity to rehash a Bennite version of autarky that Brexit offers. 

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350 years of Liberal history in 32 pages

If you want to read a short summary of the last 350 years of Liberal politics in Britain, the Liberal Democrat History Group has just the thing for you – a new edition of our booklet Liberal History: A Concise History of the Liberal Party, SDP and Liberal Democrats.

This is designed as a comprehensive but relatively short (about 10,000 words) summary of Liberal, SDP and Liberal Democrat history for readers wanting more detail than they can find on the party website, but less than a full book. We produced the booklet originally in 2005, and we’ve revised it twice since; this edition is up to date as of summer 2016.

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Lib Dems march for Europe

Lib Dems at start of March for EuropeEU nailsThousands of people across the UK Marched for Europe yesterday, with demonstrations in London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Oxford and Cambridge plus many more.

In London we put on a huge Lib Dem splash, with more than 300 Lib Dems joining us at the start in Marble Arch. An army of volunteers distributed placards, balloons and flyers. There were so many of us, police escorted us down to the main march on Park Lane!

President Sal Brinton fronted the march, leading a rally of Lib Dems from a banner at the front, flanked by Catherine Bearder MEP and Baroness Sarah Ludford as well as Parliamentary Candidate for St Albans Daisy Cooper and some of our Newbie members Ukonu Obasi and Elizabeth Barnard.

The march took on quite a pace, leading us down Picadilly and on to Trafalgur Square before ending at Parliament Square. Along the route we were chanting ‘We love you EU, we do’ and ‘We don’t want no Brexit’ with the use of a small megaphone and Bradley Hiller-Smith’s melodic tones! 

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Liberal Democrats must enthusiastically occupy the clear pro EU space – nobody else will

The Liberal Democrats have historically been enthusiastically pro EU. The strength of that enthusiasm, it’s fair to say, has not always been uniform. While a small number of Liberal Democrats campaigned to leave the EU, the vast majority of us wanted to remain. That was very clear to the tens of thousands who have joined us in the aftermath of the vote to leave.

As a party during the referendum, we did more than any other to campaign for a Remain vote. That’s quite a staggering achievement given our size and resources compared to the Labour party.

However, there are signs now that the consensus is starting to develop some fault lines. Our position in the aftermath of the referendum has been very clear. We campaign to stay or go back in to the EU at the next election. We want the voters to have their say on the Brexit deal. It’s only polite, really, given that they weren’t given any indication about what it would look like before they voted.

I don’t want to over-egg this particular pudding, but it looks like our general unity as a party on this is now under threat. Many Liberal Democrats  have been very concerned to see that Norman Lamb and Nick Clegg have endorsed Open Britain, the organisation formerly known as Britain Stronger in Europe.  Open Britain accepts the referendum result as final even though they also accept that nobody knows what they actually voted for. They will not be calling for a second referendum which seems to be a bizarre and contradictory stance to me.

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Farron: Lib Dems will take on the Tories and deliver the internationalist, economically competent, decent government that Britain deserves”

An article on the Times Red Box website examined the potential for a Liberal Democrat comeback following the EU Referendum.

I spoke to the journalist who wrote it, Natasha Clark, and may have compared Tim Farron to another Liberal leader from across the Atlantic:

They had a dynamic leader who made the case, harnessed the mood of the people with a very simple message. I think we will soon have a majority of people who don’t want to leave the EU, and we will be there to make that case.

Tim Farron was also interviewed and he had a right go at Theresa May:

Farron is, understandably, not a fan of any of either candidate for the Tory leadership, in particular the home secretary, who he slams for her inaction during the referendum campaign.

“Theresa May makes Jeremy Corbyn look like a grafter,” he jeered. “In the sense that she can step into the breach having done nothing to save the country… she may have had more of an impact than if Jeremy Corbyn did. The economy is going down the plughole because of that cowardice.”

In contrast, he made it clear what he and the Lib Dems have to offer:

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Farron: Lib Dems will champion right of EU citizens to stay in Britain

Tim Farron has set out why the Liberal Democrats will fight for those EU citizens who have made their homes in Britain to be allowed to stay post-Brexit.

Both David Cameron and Theresa May have only guaranteed their future to the conclusion of the negotiations. How awful, how unfair would it be if people who had settled, worked hard, married, had families here were forced to leave after the goalposts changed?

How cruel is it to put these people through years of uncertainty?

Tim said:

There is real, and legitimate, upset and worry from European citizens across our country about their long-term status in the UK. Liberal Democrats will not stand by whilst our communities are divided by uncertainty. Regardless of the outcome of any negotiations with Europe around Brexit, EU citizens who have made Britain their home must be allowed to stay.

To Europeans whose lives are now rooted in the UK my message is simple – the Liberal Democrats stand with you, and will speak for you. To the French family raising their children in Manchester, to the Polish mother working to pay her mortgage in Portsmouth, to the German graduate starting his business venture in Birmingham – the Liberal Democrats value you, we will stand by you and we will champion your future here in Britain.

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    When the image above was shown recently, the daughter of two of those pictured asked that it not be shown again. Her parents are in...
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 28th Oct - 10:59am
    @frankie 28th Oct '16 - 10:28am "If you believe something is right then yes it is right to fight for it." This is a difficult...
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    I hope Lester is right, and Richmond Park constituents saw through the horribleness of the mayoral campaign and its profound jarring of the image Goldsmith...
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    Khan attracted personal votes, it seems. There is an argument going on in Labour at the moment as to whether they support us Lib-Dems in...
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    It is important that the term 'barriers' is not interpreted ridgedly, so as not to overlook things that are having a negative impact but are...
  • User Avatarfrankie 28th Oct - 10:28am
    Apparently 73% of constituencies voted to leave the EU but 73% of MPs wanted to remain. [Garry Gibbon C4 News]. Also, there is no appetite...